WHITE RIVER, S.D. — The remains of a South Dakota veteran killed during the Korean War have been returned home and laid to rest.
Hundreds of Native Americans, veterans and local residents paid tribute to Sgt. Philip James Iyotte in a procession that took the fallen Lakota warrior’s remains from a Rapid City funeral home to a family plot in Two Kettle.
“When we arrived at Kirk Funeral Home there were probably 75 people waiting, including the Black Hills Chapter of the American Legion Motorcycle Riders, two honor guards including Chauncey Eagle Horn and the Rosebud Legion Post honor guard, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe veteran’s group,” Iyotte’s niece, Dera, told The Rapid City Journal.
Iyotte enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1950 at age 20. Iyotte disappeared after being captured as a prisoner of war in 1951. His remains were finally identified earlier this year by U.S. and Chinese officials.
Dera called the big ceremony “amazing” and “the most beautiful moment of my life.”
“This was a man they never met, but a warrior, a hero,” Dera said of the late October ceremony. “They came out en masse to greet him. I loved the unity and happiness he brought to the whole state of South Dakota.”
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com